The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle Protection Act) was passed in 1940 to prevent the extinction of the bald eagle and was amended in 1962 to include protection of the golden eagles (16 USC §§ 668-668d). The Eagle Protection Act makes it unlawful to "take, possess, sell, purchase, barter...transport, export or import ..." any bald eagle or golden eagle, their parts, nests, or eggs (16 USC § 668(a)). "Take" means to shoot at, poison, wound, kill, capture, trap, collect, molest or disturb", the eagles (16 USC § 668c). The Eagle Protection Act authorizes substantial fines for misdemeanor and felony violations of the Act by individuals and organizations as well as possible imprisonment (16 USC §§ 668, 668b). As with the ESA and MBTA, the FWS oversees the implementation of the Eagle Protection Act.
Several principal aspects of wind energy project development are subject to the provisions of the Eagle Protection Act. Consultation and permitting can happen concurrently with the FWS review of impacts of d energy
Knowledge or intent is not required for violation of the MBTA or the Eagle Protection Act. Consultation with the FWS to identify potential impacts to protected species at the start of project development is important to minimize liability.
proposed actions on protected species under the ESA. A Golden Eagle Nest Take permit is available for obtaining permission to move a golden eagle nest in order to prevent harm to the nest or eggs. However, the Eagle Protection Act is a strict liability statue and does not provide for permits that cover accidental impacts from wind energy projects.
The Eagle Protection Act protects bald and golden eagles regardless of whether or not they are threatened or endangered. In July 2007, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior published a final rule removing the bald eagle from the federal list of endangered and threatened wildlife (72 Fed. Reg. 37346). Although the Bald Eagle no longer receives protection under the ESA, both the Eagle Protection Act and the MBTA continue to provide protection for the species. Additionally, in May 2007, the FWS published the National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines to elaborate on regulations for implementing the Eagle Protection Act.
The FWS issued the final rule to announce the removal of the bald eagle from the endangered species list in July 2007. Although the Bald Eagle no longer receives protection under the ESA, both the Eagle Protection Act and the MBTA continue to provide protection for the species.
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